Urgent need for a UN emergency peace service

There is an urgent need to protect civilians whose lives are in acute danger in conflict zones such as Burundi, South Sudan, Syria and the Central African Republic.

Although United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions have been deployed in these countries, their capabilities to protect civilians are limited.

Unfortunately, there is a lack of political will from governments to offer sufficient numbers of well-equipped and well-trained peacekeepers.

At other times, peacekeeping operations suffer from bureaucratic delays, resulting in their failure to protect civilians from mass atrocities and violence.

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It would be unwise to blame UN peacekeepers for the delays and lack of political will.

One solution would be to set up a UN Emergency Peace Service (Uneps).

Uneps would be a permanent service deployed at UN-designated locations. It would comprise volunteer soldiers that are directly trained, hired, prepared and controlled by the UN.

The force will be highly mobile and can be deployed within 48 hours. This will allow it to avoid the delays and bureaucratic stalemate that peacekeeping operations usually face.

The force will be self-contained, with approximately 15,000 members who are hired from participating countries.

Evidently, this peace service will have its own limitations. However, its purpose will be to supplement the current UN peacekeeping missions.

Such a peace service could save millions of innocent lives. It is something that is desparately needed as soon as possible.

Roshni Kapur (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2017, with the headline 'Urgent need for a UN emergency peace service'. Print Edition | Subscribe